This week, the conversation centers around the importance of developing a career management plan. Our featured guest this week is Chris Glynn. Chris is currently working in the Accounting Department at PwC in New York City.
7/29/14 Interviewed by Scott Proietti
1. How important is it to develop a full career plan early on during your college years?
CG:I think having a full career plan is crucial for anyone who wants a successful career. Career plans help you think multiple steps ahead from where you might currently be in your career path. Personally, I am constantly mapping out a five-year plan for myself that centers on the goals I have established both personally and professionally. Through the creation of this plan, I have been able to target specific experiences I think are needed in order for me to not only achieve my goals, but also continue a path of success. It was early on in college that I [created my first career plan].
College provides you the opportunity to learn, explore, and experience different opportunities that can help you find what it is that you are interested in doing as a career. It is because of this, that I think people really need to develop a career plan the moment they step foot on a college campus. Through crafting, a student can target in on key student organizations, study abroad, or gain internship experiences that will be required of them to land a job. You do not want to be a month away from graduating and then realize that what you majored in is not what you want to be doing. Through creating a plan early, you can engage in projects or work to figure out what you do not want to do, which can ultimately help you figure out what you want to do.
Also, do not be afraid to change this career plan as you shift what you are interested in. Had you told me entering college that I would ultimately be working in Financial Services in NYC I would have called you crazy. But, as I got involved in different things I changed my career plan on what I enjoyed doing as well as what I did not enjoy. However, the key is to constantly challenge yourself and allow time for self-reflection to keep perfecting your career plan.
2. What is your best networking advice to any job seeker?
Networking is key in a professional career plan. I would tell job seekers to have a LinkedIn Account that can help them connect with their peers as well as people they may have never met. LinkedIn allows you to not only build a network, but explore the networks of other people you have connected with. As a college student, I think people can be in an advantageous networking situation. It is advantageous because they can reach out to people from the standpoint of wanting the person’s help in building a career plan or learning more about their job or field.
For me, I tapped into the alumni network of Ohio University and have always appreciated the time fellow alumni gave to me. But, you must be willing to follow up with people and actually reach out to them. You will be surprised what people will be willing to do for you if you just ask for their time. Typically, I will send emails asking if I could conduct an informational interview with the person, as I am interested in their field, job, or projects they might be working on. If you do get people to agree to speak with you, people must realize that time is the most important resource to a lot of people, so have your questions already prepared. Also, continue to follow up with people you have already networked or connected with in the past so that they can continue to help you.
Finally, I would always recommend sending a hand-written thank you note to whoever has given time to help you. People typically send just a thank you email, but I think a hand written note allows for you to have a more personal touch in expressing your gratitude.
3. What is the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a career path to follow?
I would say the most important thing to consider is what you are interested in as well as the life you want to lead. For example, a police officer has a different lifestyle than a teacher. When you are younger, you may not mind working lots of hours, but as you get older you may decide you want a family, which brings a different lifestyle. I think your career plan should focus in on what kind of lifestyle you want personally. You will be spending the majority of your life at work so you want to make sure it is something you find rewarding, interesting, and fits within your lifestyle goals.
4. How have you effectively managed a career plan to get to the point in life where you are today?
As I mentioned earlier, I keep an open-mind to my career plan and constantly change it as my experiences dictate. For me, when I engage in something I do it 100% and try to commit my full self. I think that has helped me to always be on top of my career plan and seek out opportunities to help make my career plan stronger. Also, I have been very fortunate to have some great mentors early on who have helped me craft my plan. My mentors are people who hold jobs that I seek to eventually hold, so they have been valuable in describing to me the necessary steps to not only get to their position, but to also continue to move up in my career.
5. How important is the employer/employee relationship to the success of any company and why?
The employer/employee relationship is extremely important to any company. As an employer, you want your employees to be productive and to help drive productivity and the company’s goals. As an employee you want to work at a place where you feel like you are challenged, given opportunities, taken care of economically, and your values line up with the company’s. When an employer can help an employee accomplish what I described, then it results in a beneficial relationship to both parties.
Employees can be stakeholders in any business and I believe are the most important capital component of any company. Employers need to invest in this human capital and help develop it in order to stay out in front in the business world. As a result, I think any company out there really needs to have great coaching environments and career development plans with their employees. At the end of the day, company’s want to meet their financial, operational, and strategic goals and they need great employees to make that happen.